A state judge ruled on Saturday that a Florida redistricting plan supported by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis violates the state constitution and cannot be used for any future elections for the US Congress because it makes it harder for black voters in north Florida to choose a representative of their choice.
Circuit Judge J. Lee Marsh ordered the Florida Legislature to create a new congressional map that complies with the Florida Constitution before returning the proposal to them.
The voting rights organizations that filed a legal challenge against the plan “have shown that the enacted plan results in the diminishment of black voters’ ability to elect their candidate of choice in violation of the Florida Constitution,” Marsh ruled.
The ruling was the most recent to invalidate newly drawn congressional district lines in southern states due to worries that they would reduce black voters’ sway.
June saw the U.S. With two conservative justices joining liberals in rejecting the attempt to alter a key voting rights statute, the Supreme Court rejected a Republican-drawn map in Alabama.
The chance that the Republican-dominated state of Louisiana may need to redraw boundary lines in order to create a second congressional district with a majority of black constituents increased shortly after the Supreme Court released its hold on a political remap lawsuit from that state.
Republicans have either appealed the verdicts in each case or have promised to do so since they may favor Democratic congressional candidates running in 2024 under newly drawn district lines.
The Florida Supreme Court will probably hear the Florida case in the end.
Following a census every ten years, legislators in all 50 states, including Florida, redistrict political boundaries.
DeSantis, a contender for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, came under fire for effectively forcing Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a black man, out of office by dividing his district and displacing a sizable black voter population into Republican-leaning white districts.
DeSantis made an unusual intervention in the redistricting process last year when he vetoed the Republican-controlled Legislature’s blueprint that kept Lawson’s district intact.
He convened a special meeting, presented his own map, and demanded that the legislature approve it.
Black voters’ state and federal voting rights were allegedly infringed by the redistricting of congressional district lines, according to the lawsuit filed by voting rights organizations.
Black people make up 17% of Florida’s 22.2 million residents. According to the new maps, only white members of Congress are in charge of a region that stretches 360 miles (579 kilometers) north from the Alabama border to the Atlantic Ocean and south from the Georgia border to Orlando in central Florida.
Republican lawmakers’ defense claims that Florida’s legislation prohibiting weakening or eradicating minority-majority districts violated U.S. law were denied by the state’s judge.
Constitution. According to Marsh, “the court finds that defendants have not satisfied their burden in this case.”